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On ARC, American countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo performs works of baroque master G. F. Handel and minimalist 20/21st century composer Philip Glass, all played by the orchestra Les Violons du Roy and conducted by music director Jonathan Cohen. Anchored by Costanzos alternatingly powerful and sweet sound, ARC is a startlingly original work that weaves together the twin threads of Costanzos artistic life, while putting familiar works in a novel context that allows the listener to hear them anew. The track sequence alternates between Glass and Handel, stringing together arias, songs, and excerpts like gemstones on a chain.
|Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 ''Eroica''; Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1
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Brand: Reference Recordings
Reference Recordings proudly presents these two iconic works in definitive interpretations from Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in superb audiophile sound. This release was recorded in beautiful and historic Heinz Hall, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In his fascinating and scholarly notes, Maestro Honeck gives us great insight into the history of both pieces, and describes how he conducts and interprets each. He reminds us that the Eroica was a bold departure from earlier symphonies, a dance symphony with dramatic inventiveness, full of new elements that had never been heard before. He quotes Beethoven s student Ferdinand Ries, who wrote Beethoven played recently for me (the Eroica) and I believe both heaven and earth must tremble when it is performed. Honeck puts his own inimitable stamp on this interpretation, giving the listener a chance to experience the novelties of the Eroica as if hearing it for the very first time. This release is the eighth in the highly acclaimed Pittsburgh Live! series from Reference Recordings. The previous release Shostakovich 5/Barber Adagio won the Grammy in February 2018 for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered Classical Album.
|Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone
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Brand: Sony Classical
ENNIO MORRICONE - YO-YO MA PLAYS - CD
|Songs From A Secret Garden
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SECRET GARDEN SONGS FROM A SECRET GARDEN
Picture a square with Clannad, pianist David Lanz, Mannheim Steamroller, and the musicians of Riverdance at its corners. Somewhere within those stylistic borders you will encounter the European duo Secret Garden. The popular twosome--Irish violinist Fionnuala (fi-NOO-la) Sherry and Norwegian pianist/keyboardist Rolf Lovland--have attracted a sizable following with their heart-touching specialty: a wistful, violin-rooted, pop-folk-classical melange that often strikes the ear as a film score in search of some delicate romantic tale. Songs from a Secret Garden is the duo's debut recording from 1995, and it principally offers a series of pensive dialogues between Sherry's stately violin and Lovland's subdued piano, yielding equal measures of sweetness and melancholy. Whistles, pipes, percussion, strings, and ethereal voices serve as embellishments. At times you may sense you're being serenaded by strolling musicians with a heavy sentimental streak; at other times you may feel genuinely moved--perhaps by something as lovely as the reverential "Sigma" and its sublime, Gregorian-like choral passages. Only one uptempo tune, "The Rap," surfaces here; a few others would have been welcomed. And yes, this is the disc where you will find "Heartstrings," the composition that once smote Barbra Streisand's heart. She eventually acquired the rights to the piece, inserted lyrics, renamed it "I've Dreamed of You" (found on A Love Like Ours), and sang it to James Brolin during the couple's 1998 wedding. --Terry Wood
- SECRET GARDEN SONGS FROM A SECRET GARDEN
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Brand: Nonesuch (USA)
Nonesuch Records releases an album of Bach works recorded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mandolinist Chris Thile, and bassist Edgar Meyer, Bach Trios, on April 7, 2017, with the two-LP vinyl edition due April 21. The album comprises works by J.S. Bach originally written for keyboard instruments, plus one sonata for viola da gamba. In 2011, Ma, Thile, and Meyer—along with Stuart Duncan—collaborated on The Goat Rodeo Sessions, which won two Grammy Awards.
Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer's first recording together was the 1996 album Appalachia Waltz, which also featured fiddler Mark O'Connor; that album was followed by Appalachian Journey, also with O'Connor, in 2000. Meyer and Thile also began playing together nearly two decades ago, and first performed live as a duo in 2003. They have made two duo albums, 2008's Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile and the Grammy–winning 2014 record Bass & Mandolin.
Thile then joined Meyer on Ma's 2008 holiday album, Songs of Joy and Peace, before the trio reunited, along with Stuart Duncan, for The Goat Rodeo Sessions, an album of original tunes drawing from the musicians' backgrounds in bluegrass, classical, and American roots music. The Goat Rodeo Sessions debuted at number twenty-three on the Billboard 200 chart and number one on the classical and classical crossover charts, as well as number one on the bluegrass chart, where it stayed for eleven weeks. The album was also critically praised, with the Los Angeles Times calling it "haunting, invigorating, often breathtaking."
As Ma told Billboard at that time: "How often do you work with people who are master virtuosos and also master improvisers and composers, who know at least two musical traditions unbelievably well?" He continued, "It's just extraordinary when you have people who can actually show on their instruments what they're thinking at any moment, without a delay. As soon as you think it, it gets transferred in your neuromusculature immediately into sound."
The New York Times said of Yo-Yo Ma, who is considered one of today's foremost interpreters of Bach, "Other cellists hear Bach's suites the same as Mr. Ma, but few if any have the technical means to transfer their imaginings so precisely into sound." Ma maintains a balance between his engagements as soloist with orchestras worldwide and his recital and chamber music activities. His discography includes more than one hundred albums, eighteen of which have won Grammy Awards. Ma also serves as the Artistic Director of Silkroad, an organization he founded to promote cross-cultural performance and collaborations. More than eighty works have been commissioned specifically for the Silk Road Ensemble, which tours annually. Ma also serves as the Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Negaunee Music Institute and in 2016 was appointed Artistic Advisor to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
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Brand: Mercury KX
The new album from Olafur Arnalds features his ground-breaking new software, Stratus, which transforms the humble piano into a unique new instrument. The Stratus Pianos are two self-playing, semi-generative player pianos which are triggered by a central piano played by Olafur, and are the centerpiece of his new works. The custom-built software is born out of two years of work by the composer and audio developer, Halldor Eldjarn. The algorithms generated from Stratus were also used to create the innovative album artwork. On the album Olafur uses these methods reinvigorate the compositional experience, feeding back into the creative process in a completely new way. As Olafur plays a note on the piano, two different notes are generated by Stratus, creating unexpected harmonies and surprising melodic sequences.The fourth official solo album by Olafur Arnalds takes the listener through varied moods and feelings, through different musical landscapes. You can hear every facet of his work the composition, the soundtracks, the pop bursting through, flowering. This is my breaking out-of-a-shell album, Arnalds says. This is me taking the raw influences that I have from all these different musical genres and not filtering them. I always have my hands in many different projects at once, and I feel that this album represents that.
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2CELLOS (Luka Sulic & Stjepan Hauser) became a worldwide YouTube sensation with their passionate, dueling cellos version of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal. Their debut album is a thrilling collection of chart-topping rock and pop songs performed in their signature style from Guns N' Roses, U2, Coldplay and Kings of Leon, among others. Their follow-up single is an explosive version of the Guns N' Roses classic "Welcome to the Jungle" and the accompanying video is sure to create another viral phenomenon. Of the repertoire Stjepan says: "Both Luka and I love classical music and have studied it for years, but we are really excited to put our own take on classics by some of our favorite pop and rock artists."
|Lead With Your Heart
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Multi-platinum-selling vocal group The Tenors (formerly known as The Canadian Tenors), featuring Clifton Murray, Fraser Walters, Remigio Pereira and Victor Micallef, will release their highly anticipated second studio album, LEAD WITH YOUR HEART, on January 15, 2013, via a U.S. deal with multi-Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster, Chairman of Verve Music Group.
"I'm thrilled to welcome The Tenors as members of the Verve family. These amazing performers have established themselves here and abroad, and are a true international success story," said Foster. "I am extremely proud to be associated with such great Canadian talent."
The group has already garnered a brilliant response in their native Canada, where LEAD WITH YOUR HEART powered to Top 3 on the Top Current Album Chart (behind Taylor Swift and Rod Stewart), #1 Classics/Crossover and #1 on Amazon.com following its October 30th debut.
LEAD WITH YOUR HEART is a 12-track journey that stretches the boundaries of classical crossover music by combining classic songs, modern tunes, and Spanish and French world music. From much-loved covers such as Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" and Elton John's "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word," to the inspirational anthem "Amazing Grace," and one of the most recognizable and heroic Tenor arias, "Nessun Dorma," the diverse track list features an eclectic mix of pop favorites and classical staples, along with new compositions written and co-written by The Tenors.
"We are so proud of this album and of the response we are getting from audiences in Canada; we are excited to share this music with so many friends, new and old, on our upcoming tour in America," said The Tenors.
Collaborating on this exciting new album with The Tenors are world-renowned producers and co-writers including Walter Afanasieff (Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Jackson), Bob Ezrin (Rod Stewart, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd) and Marco Marinangeli (Josh Groban, Il Divo, Placido Domingo).
LEAD WITH YOUR HEART is The Tenors' first album in over two years, following the international release of their debut album and an extensive touring schedule. Over the past few years, The Tenors have performed worldwide, sharing the stage with legendary artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion (on The Oprah Show), Sting and Paul McCartney. More recently, The Tenors were featured performers on two primetime international broadcasts: THE EMMY Awards live from Los Angeles and The Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations from Windsor Castle in the UK, where The Tenors performed for Her Majesty.
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Brand: EMI Angel
Here is the two-decades-in-the-making recording from the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos, featuring Gregorian Chant a millennium-old, recorded with up-to-date technology. Indescribably moving.
Thanks to good marketing, good cover art, and good luck, this disc probably has sold more copies than most other recordings of Gregorian chant put together. It's often quipped that most of those discs have been listened to exactly once and put away--to the puzzlement of many musicians and critics, who point out that there are more beautiful, more varied performances by professional singers available. Yet the singing of these Spanish Benedictines has a special quality that probably explains this disc's popularity--a reverent serenity that no doubt stems from the fact that the monks are actually praying, not just performing. Granted, Chant can become a bit monotonous with repeated listening, but it really gives you the sense of devotion that has always been the purpose of "Gregorian" chant. If this recording (ahem) enchants you at first, wonderful. If you get bored with it later, don't give up--there has been an extraordinary variety of styles and sounds over the 1,500-year history of plainchant, so go exploring with Anonymous 4, Ensemble Gilles Binchois, Sequentia, or Ensemble Organum. You won't be sorry. --Matthew Westphal
Lowest new price: $3.30
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Brand: Sony Music
Grammy winning trumpeter Chris Botti has returned in top form with Italia, his most lushly romantic and expressive album to date. Featuring duets with some of today's biggest international stars including Andrea Bocelli, Paula Cole, and Dean Martin, Botti's rich and articulate musical collection is truly beautiful, enchanting, and understatedly elegant.
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